Mumbai's iconic Kabutar Khana to get a Rs 2-crore facelift

BMC plans to widen the junction by two metres, by shifting the granary inside and chipping off part of a traffic island; a renovated fountain, new flooring and focus lights are also part of the grand plan to beautify the Dadar landmark

The Iconic Kabutar Khana at Dadar is set to get a makeover this year, which will not only enhance its aesthetic appeal but also reduce traffic woes at the choked junction. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to take up this challenging task.

Among the first tasks will be to giv a facelift to the fountain, which is currently non-operational. “The fountain, which is considered a heritage structure, will be made better. We will ensure that the structure undergoes no changes,” said S V R Srinivas, additional municipal commissioner.

The marble tiles on the floor will be replaced with stone tiles and water pipes will also be installed to clean the pigeon droppings and other dirt off the floor. The structure will be surrounded by lights which will illuminate it at night, making it pleasing to the eye.

Bottle neck
Besides aesthetic changes, the project also aims to reduce traffic at the arterial junction. The road leading towards Kabutar Khana from Dadar station is Javale Road; the road going right from the junction leads to Plaza cinema and the one towards the left goes towards Shardashram School.

When one bus halts the bus stop, others behind it find it difficult to turn. Hence, 1 metre of the traffic island and the Kabutar Khana will be done away with to widen the road. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
When one bus halts the bus stop, others behind it find it difficult to turn. Hence, 1 metre of the traffic island and the Kabutar Khana will be done away with to widen the road. Pic/Datta Kumbhar

At this very junction, there is a traffic island, beside which is a bus stop. Buses going towards Siddhivinayak temple halt at this stop, blocking the way for other buses also wanting to turn towards Shardashram School. The civic body has decided to do away with parts of both the traffic island and Kabutar Khana.

“The part of the Kabutar Khana that causes the traffic jam will be done away with completely,” said a BMC officer from the Roads department. The island and Kabutar Khana will be reduced by 1 metre each; this means the granary shed will be shifted inside.

A tree on this traffic island will be transplanted elsewhere, said Srinivas. Two other traffic islands, one on each road going away from the junction, will also be renovated. “This decision has been taken after innumerable discussions with Traffic police and BEST. The plan will soon be submitted to the Heritage committee,” said the Roads department officer.

“We are trying to reduce the size of Kabutar Khana to resolve traffic problems here,” Additional Commissioner Srinivas said, adding that the entire project is expected to cost around Rs 2 crore. BMC hopes to complete the tendering process to appoint the contractor for the project before monsoon, so work can begin after rains subside.

Srinivas said it would take 6-8 months for the work to be completed. The Roads department officer said the work would be done from 11 pm to 5 am so that motorists are not inconvenienced.

Going underground?
Sudhir Jadhav, local corporator from the MNS, confirmed that the BMC had sanctioned funds for the project. But Jadhav wants a part of the Kabutar Khana to underground and has even appointed an architect to design the same. “Our plan is to have the storage of food grains and medical facilities for pegions underground.

The seating area can be the way it is now. We have appointed an architect for this and the Dadar Vyapari Sangh and I will be collecting funds for the same,” Jadhav said. However, Srinivas dismissed this idea, saying the underground plan was just not possible. “The new Kabutar Khana could have a smaller circumference.”

'Maintain heritage'
Built in 1933, the Kabutar Khana is a Grade-II heritage structure and the Heritage committee needs to approve of the plan to make changes to it. Though the committee is open to modifications, members underscored the need to maintain the historical value of the structures.

A heritage committee member said, “The cast iron grill of the Kabutar Khana is as much a heritage structure as the Kabutar Khana itself. If the storage area and granary need to be shifted, the grill will be affected too. You can’t do away with the round casts under any circumstance. If need be, they can be shifted inside (without any alteration).”

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